South Korea will invest about 27.3 billion won (24.3 million U.S. dollars) this year to popularize and globalize Korean studies, S Korean the education ministry said here on Monday. In a report, the education ministry said that it will earmark about 27.3 billion won to promote Korean studies, up 40 percent from 19.1 billion won invested in 2011. Korean studies is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of Korea and covers various areas such as history, society, culture and economics. The ministry, in cooperation with the Academy of Korean Studies, launched a project to promote Korean studies in 2007, with a budget of 4.5 billion won. The project has been focusing on nurturing and supporting institutions and scholars in the field. Under the project, the ministry plans to add two more foreign colleges to the current 18 in an effort to foster them as global strongholds for Korean studies. The current list of foreign colleges includes Harvard University and Saint Petersburg State University of Russia.